The state of emergency declared in Baltimore, a response to disturbances in the west and northwest sections of the city, has caused some groups to reassess their planned events for the near future. The death of Freddie Gray in police custody was followed by several days of peaceful protests, but violence broke out following Gray's funeral on Saturday. A citywide curfew started Tuesday, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The Baltimore Convention Center is open for business (a FAQ on safety at the facility can be found here), but the Door and Hardware Institute's CoNEXTions 2015, set to run April 29 to May 1, has been canceled. Visit Baltimore said the group had been scheduled to bring more than 2,000 attendees to the city, accounting for approximately 2,500 room nights. "Visit Baltimore and city officials have been working with the organization's leadership over the past several days to provide them with information and support as they discussed their options," Visit Baltimore president and CEO Tom Noonan said in a statement. "At the end of the day, they felt that the current situation left them no alternative."
The American Heart Association has canceled its 2015 QCOR conference (Quality of Care and Outcomes Research scientific sessions), which was scheduled to bring 350 people to the city this week. Attendees were told their safety and well-being are the highest concerns. "After speaking with local authorities, hotel management and the convention and visitors bureau, we have decided to cancel the 2015 QCOR conference due to the potential for violence," the notice said. The AHA still is considering how to handle requests for refunds of registration fees. The AHA's Baltimore office is downtown, where the violence has not reached, but the organization's staff is working from home for the near future.
Visitors should check the Baltimore Police Department website for the latest information.